InFocus X10 - DLP 1080p Home Theater Projector Review: Overview
9/1/2008 -Art Feierman
The InFocus X10 is their entry level 1080p home theater projector. At this point, InFocus perhaps has the largest lineup of single chip 1080p DLP projectors for home cinema. The X10 uses the relatively new Darkchip1 DLP processor. Its performance is below that of the Darkchip3 used in most more expensive DLP projectors, and definitely below the new top of the line Darkchip4 found in the InFocus IN83 which we reviewed (and were dazzled with) in July.
There isn't much difference between the different 1080p projectors from InFocus when it comes to physical layout and features, but performance in areas like brightness, black levels and image processing do vary. For many looking at InFocus projectors, a challenge is to decide which one to buy - the X10 for the least money, a little more for the IN81, more still for the more expensive models. For each incremental dollar you should get a better overall performer.
InFocus X10 Projector: Highlights
- Very bright projector in "best mode", it can handle larger screens
- Black level performance is OK, but then that's why they have more expensive models
- Very good out of the box color - barely needs any calibration beyond significantly reducing the default contrast setting
- ISF certified, with ISF Day/Night modes available for professional calibrators
- Two screen triggers for working with motorized and masking screens
- Limited placement flexibilty (but typical for DLP projectors)
- Unlike the other 1080p projectors from InFocus, this one is available from authorized on-line dealers
- One of the lowest cost new 1080p projectors
In one sense I was disapoointed with the InFocus X10. I've still got the Darkchip4 IN83 here, and I've been watching it quite a bit. I (unreasonably) figured the X10 would be close to the IN83, and, of course, (especially with two other models in the middle), it wasn't. That doesn't, however detract from the X10's actual performance, which is, considering everything, including price, very good.
The X10 is a larger home theater projector, designed primarily for ceiling mounting, but a small tiltable table stand is also included. It has an iris, but like other InFocus projectors, it is manual, not dynamic. Stop it down and the image gets less bright, but contrast improves slightly. The projector uses the same remote control as other 1080p projectors in the lineup. Like vitually all DLP projectors, it is a bit noisy in terms of audible noise, at least compared to most 3LCD projectors.
The X10 supports HDMI 1.3 with Deep Color, and 24fs, all the goodies we now demand.
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InFocus X10 Projector: Basic Specifications
Click for full specs, and access to a .pdf of the X10 projector's brochure:
Technology: DLP (Darkchip1)
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.2:1
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 2500 hours low power (eco-mode), 2000 hours at full lamp power
Weight:14.1 lbs. (6.4 Kg)
Warranty: 2 Years Parts and Labor
Let's get started with the usual look at the physical attributes of the X10.
InFocus X10 Projector: Physical Tour
We start looking at this InFocus projector from the front. The lens is offset far to the left side. Since the projector lacks lens shift (also typical of DLP projectors), the projector will need to be mounted slightly off center, relative to the center of the screen. There is a small, non-adjustable foot on the bottom, front center. Remember there is a pedestal you can attach if you need to adjust the angle.
That covers the front of the X10. The left side of the projector (if you are still looking from the front), has, along the top edge, an infra-red sensor for the remote.
Also on the left are the two recessed, large dials for focus and zoom.
The X10 has no power or menu controls on the projector itself, making it completely dependent on the remote control.
On the top, centered along the back, are the power indicator and three other indicator lights.
That takes us to the back of the projector where all the inputs, and other connections are located. They are all significantly recessed, allowing the cable cover to hide the cable connections when installed. InFocus knows that most X10's will end up being ceiling mounted (which means inverted). Clever folks that they are, they labeled all the inputs upside down, so they would appear right side up when installing, and connecting cables. So, here you go - it looks upside down, but it's not.
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The X10 offers one HDMI input (1.3 compatible), and a M1-DA (InFocus proprietary connector), which handles both digital (HDMI 1.3 or DVI) or analog inputs (computer, or component video). In addition there is one component video input - the usual 3 RCA jacks - S-Video, and Composite video inputs. Basically, the collection and mix of source inputs is about typical for home theater projectors these days.
In addition to inputs, there is an RS-232 serial port for "command and control" of the projector from computers or room controllers (like Crestron, AMX...).
There is also a pair of 12 volt inputs for screen triggers. This allows one for a motorized screen's up/down control, and one for controlling a masking solution that you can set to match the aspect ratio of the image. Finally, there is a mini-jack for hardwiring in the remote control, if needed.
That covers all the hardware, except for the remote control, which we will deal with in the General Performance page.
Now it's time to consider those all important aspects of the InFocus X10's image quality!